Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Microsoft debuts Project xCloud for streaming games to PCs and phones

Microsoft debuts Project xCloud for streaming games to PCs and phones

Project xCloud was announced by Microsoft this week, an effort to bring Xbox and Windows PC games to a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.

The rumours of the next Xbox console offering a stream device alternative seem to be more likely now with this new service beginning public trials in 2019.

The blog post emphasizes that Project xCloud won't be a quick endeavor; Microsoft is putting time and effort into this in order to make sure it's done right.

Microsoft now has data centres set up in 54 Azure regions and are readying services in 140 countries for the public trials to go ahead in the new year.

It also looks that Microsoft has been working on their own custom hardware to power this service.

Also, if it wants to make every game available on (for example) an Android phone, it's going to have to come up with some kind of controller solution for those who don't have an Xbox One controller to use via Bluetooth. Unlike other forms of digital entertainment, games are interactive experiences that dynamically change based on player input.

More importantly in the context of Project xCloud, Microsoft operates one of the world's largest infrastructure-as-a-service platforms.

"We see game streaming as a great technology, giving you access to the games you want to play on the device you want to play them on", said Spencer in a video debuting the service.

According to Microsoft, the company has created a new type of blade server by assembling the components of several Xbox One systems.

Public trials for xCloud begin next year, at which point we'll hear more about it.

In order for streamed games to be playable, you need a fast, low-latency connection for streaming video and input - Microsoft says Project xCloud requires a 10 Mbps or faster internet connection and the goal is to support 4G and 5G mobile networks as well as WiFi. Azure has datacenters in 140 countries, so Microsoft feels it is already in a strong position to roll out the service wide-scale. The test now runs at 10 megabits per second; Project xCloud can push the limits of 4G technology while being fully scalable for the upcoming 5G technology.

While this is being tested with mobile devices now, you can bet we'll also see this move over to PCs as well.

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